500 Tacos: Salty Sow

A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Salty Sow
1917 Manor Road (map), 512-391-2337, www.saltysow.com/austin/
Hours: 4:30-10pm Sun-Thu, 4:30-11 Fri-Sat
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 03.23.15
One of Austin’s best breakfast tacos is available only 14 hours a week, and only in the late afternoon. Welcome to the happy hour taco menu at the Salty Sow, where the namesake beast has done well enough on Manor Road to set up shop in Phoenix, too.
The taco: Pork belly
Bacon and eggs, but bacon in its primal state, a slab of pork belly thick enough to caramelize on the outside for natural sweetness, with an overeasy egg ready to break on the first bite, uniting woodsy arugula and pungent feta for a multi-layered flavor ideal for breakfast, no matter the time of day. Need another reason for breakfast at dinner? A blood orange margarita counts as juice, no? It’s called the Wallow, a slushy brain freeze washed with Twisted X Tex Mex Lager. ($5 each at happy hour, 4:30-6:30 daily)
 The pursuit of happy hour: I’d never think to put grits in a taco. Salty Sow’s carnitas taco is why: The creamy base of the grits clashes with the damp duvet texture of a steaming flour tortilla. Add an overeasy egg and rough parmesan queso, and the congealing textures gang up and smother the tender pulled pork carnitas at the heart of this beleaguered taco. A catfish taco (below) scores well in every category that counts: clean catfish, crunchy cornmeal breading, cool sweet slaw and a little heat from chipotle remoulade. ($5 each at happy hour, 4:30-6:30 daily)
 Tortillas: The craft touch extends only so far, and not to these storebought thin flour and single-layer yellow corn tortillas.
 Salsa: None, but it would’ve helped that flat-line carnitas taco.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)